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Could intermittent fasting kick-start your weight loss?

Posted at 7:30 AM, Nov 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 09:38:24-05

"I was very good at posing and having someone block my body," explains mother of two, Mary Drizigacker, from Mesa. "There aren't a lot of full body pictures of me in the last 7 or 8 years because I avoided the camera."

After having babies, Mary says she didn't like what she saw in the mirror or on the scale.

"I just knew inside I wasn't happy with myself. And I felt so ashamed for myself that I let myself go like that."

So last year, Mary made a big change, starting the high-fat, low-carb Keto Diet.

And then over the summer, she began intermittent fasting, which she claims, has kicked her weight loss into high gear, losing at least 35 pounds since June.

"I feel amazing. I feel regenerated. I feel like I have so much more energy with my kids. My children love it. I'm more active with them."

Here's how intermittent fasting works: Like Mary, you can give yourself a small window to eat every day, fasting for sixteen hours and eating for eight.

You can also follow the 5:2 model where you are eating normally five days out of the week and severely restricting your calories the other two days.

"This is not a new concept," explains Phoenix-based internist Dr. Sonal Haerter. "We've done this for many years."

Dr. Haerter doesn't see Mary as one of her patients, but she also practices intermittent fasting. She says at first, she had to gradually work up to fasting for sixteen hours a day, at first doing twelve hours, but says the benefits have been worth it.

"Based on animal studies, it shows there is not just weigh loss, but improved focus. Better energy, lower blood pressure, better blood sugars, better cholesterol panels."

But Dr. Haerter warns it's always better to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting.

Possible side effects could include fatigue, headache, and binge-eating after your fast is over.

For Mary, the social aspect may be the toughest, not always being able to eat every time her family does.

"I'll still sit at the table with them, but I won't eat. But it's hard when I'm cooking the food and I'm smelling it!" she explains.

But the proof is in Mary's pride--she just donated three bags of clothes that don't fit anymore. Mary tells ABC15 she's not looking back!

"I don't get hangry anymore! I used to get hangry all the time...I don't feel tied down to food or a schedule. I can live my life day-by-day and how I feel...I'm more in tuned with my body."

Intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. If you're pregnant, have multiple medical conditions or take multiple medications, you may want to think twice before starting. Again, Dr. Haerter suggests always consulting your doctor before trying something new like this.